Monday, June 10, 2013


Who doesn’t love a cold treat on a hot summer day? For those with dairy allergies, ice cream is off the menu. However, there are many delicious substitutes that people who are lactose intolerant or have a dairy allergy can enjoy.

A quick trip down the dairy aisle as well as the frozen dessert aisle will show you that plenty of cow milk substitutes are available beyond Lactaid: there are several specialty brands of almond milk, hemp milk, rice milk, soy milk, and coconut milk. Each has a slightly different texture and “weight” and all come in unflavored or vanilla and some come in chocolate flavor. Even better, many of these are also the basis for traditional ice cream alternatives.

You can find frozen desserts made from rice milk, soy milk, coconut milk from brands such as Rice Dream and Almond Dream, Organic Rice Divine, So Delicious, Purely Decadent, and Coconut Bliss; some brands use organic ingredients and some support non-profit organizations for an extra feel-good factor. Some are lighter or more granular while others are creamier and feel more like the real thing (particularly the coconut milk varieties). Some are sweeter than others. They come in a range of flavors—such as butter pecan or chocolate almond fudge—and some are gluten free as well (check those labels!). You should sample several flavors and brands as they are all quite different.

Many people also have a soy allergy and at one time, soy milk or soy-based products were the only dairy alternative on the market. That is no longer the case so go ahead—enjoy an “ice cream” cone your way!

All these milk substitutes are also great ingredients for refreshing summer smoothies as well. Go ahead – throw in those fruits (berries, bananas, and apples are great), nuts, or greens in the blender with soy, almond, rice, or coconut milk (even coconut water) and let ‘er rip. You won’t be disappointed. Want to make it more of a milk shake? Use your frozen treat instead of milk.

For those who are craving ice cream but shouldn’t or cannot eat it, you’ll come pretty close to the real thing and enjoy your summer treat. You can find out more about some of the non-dairy ice creams and get great dairy-free recipes here. Enjoy!